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Reflections on Clearing 2018

A-Level Results Day is always one of the busiest times of the year for Education Cubed and this year was no different. In fact, 2018 was without question the strongest buyers market we have experienced in a very long time.

A number of things have occurred this year:

  1. The demographic dip is beginning to bite now (and will continue to do so until 2021). In simple terms, there are less 18-year-olds out there for universities to entice.
  2. Alternative routes to university are growing (apprenticeships in the main) – albeit slowly. Therefore, the declining demographic group of 18-year-olds aren’t all choosing university. This is a double blow for the Higher Education sector.
  3. Strong A-Level results this year means those universities that are lower tariff will be squeezed much more than those with a higher tariff.
  4. Unconditional offers that lock applicants to one university only – and therefore out of the clearing process – are up massively. A total of 2,985 offers were made in 2013 compared to 67,915 made this year. Simply put, these unconditional offers have formally removed tens of thousands of applicants from this year’s clearing. We’ll certainly be watching this story with interest in the Education Cubed office.

That said, there has been a steady growth in applicants finding places in clearing this year – up by 2.4% so far. There was also growth in late applicants – i.e. students only applied to university once they had received their results. We suspect that many universities are softening grade boundaries and reducing tariff points as well. Clearing is still very much on-going at the moment, so it will be interesting to look at the figures again once the process has finished.

All of our clients had an incredibly successful clearing and were very happy with this year’s results. Our staff on the ground and those working as an extension of the excellent HE teams across the UK proved once again to be the dream team. We helped our clients recruit thousands of students through our social media and programmatic campaigns and look forward to building on our joint successes as the year progresses. It’s all about building great client relationships here at Cubed – it’s what inspires us to keep doing what we do. Here’s to Clearing 2019.

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